When Your Data Becomes Political

Have you ever wondered why you're seeing an ad online? In your social media feed, in apps, or while browsing the internet?

What you see is determined in large part by your data. The exploitation of data dominates the news these days - and the use of advertising in politics is front and centre to this exploitation. Advertisers are able to buy access to very personal information about you and then infer even more about you. They are able to use this information to target ads at you with heightened precision, and to send you unique messages that are specially created to appeal to you and people like you. There are many actors in the business of amassing our data and using it to segment and profile us based on our behaviour - data brokers, ad tech, and platforms we use.

It's not only brands and advertisers selling t-shirts who are targeting you. Political parties, political campaigns and those who work for them tap into and further exploit our data  - and it's happening in the dark. Privacy International believes that you should be told and understand how your data is being used by companies and by political actors, and that there must be limits - your data should not be used against you.

In the run up to an election, concern at such attempts to influence and manipulate our views are heightened. This is why at PI we are working to challenge such practices.